It Could Hold Two Rhinos!

It Could Hold Two Rhinos!

Thomas here, with a wee-little update about a project you can come be part of. This June we’ll be timber-framing a very stout barn on a site overlooking the beauty of the Long Branch Creek and some of the best sunsets this world has to offer.

In hopes that you’ll realize how incredibly fun and educational this will all be, I’d like to share more details about the design of the structure itself and our plans for hosting an awesome workshop experience. Sorry if there is too much timber frame jargon… it’s all simple, sensible stuff really.

This sketch by Thomas gives a closer look at the barn that you can help build during the Timber Frame Workshop!

The “work” of the workshop will be focused on the layout, cutting, fitting and raising of the three major bent assemblies that make up the core of this barn’s frame. We’ll work mainly with hand tools and learn to keep all edge tools extremely sharp. Most of the timbers are Douglas Fir. The posts and sills are around 8”x8” in cross section and tie beams are 8”x12”. Basic load calculations for the strength of framing members indicate that, with the hay mow packed with bales, the central tie beam needs to bear the weight equivalent of two rhinoceroses!!! Fourth rule of successful barn design: make the mow floor strong so the rhinos don’t crush the goats. Safety first!

Speaking of rules, we’ll be learning and using the “square rule” system of laying out (drawing accurately on the timbers) all the interlocking intersections of posts, beams, braces, etc. The majority of these joints will be standard 2” mortises and tenons with 1” pegs to help hold it all together. The three tie beams across the frame will have long tenons clean through, through the post mortises and then some to the outside, then double-wedged to make for a very rugged, “New-Madrid-earthquake-won’t-get-my barn” kind of anchor joint.

This barn seems huge to me by Dancing Rabbit standards, but it’s just the right size for the all the variety of animals and stuff that needs to live under the 1000+ square feet of roof coverage. There’s much more to describe about the building and workshop plan, but I’d rather you just register for the workshop and join us for the fun. We’ll be practicing and learning timeless skills; making wood chips and friends all day long; offering evening excursions into other traditions of wood craft and unique ecovillage culture; and of course timber framing a barn to shelter many a splendored critter.

Other Useful Links about Timber Framing:

Historic American Timber Joinery (by Sobon)

Light and Heavy Timber Framing Made Easy (by Hodgson)

The Forestry Forum- Timber framing / Log Construction message board


We hope you will join us this June for this Timber Frame Workshop  Register now to save $150!


Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us  (dancingrabbitaticdotorg)  .

1 Comment. Leave a comment

  1. Mike

    Love it! Took down two, pegged, p&b barns many yrs ago